In the latest episode of LeBron James’ hit HBO show, “UNINTERRUPTED The Shop,” the NBA legend is joined by Academy Award winning actor Daniel Kaluuya, Manchester United (Premier League) soccer star Marcus Rashford, artist Rashid Johnson, CMO of SpringHill Company Paul Rivera, and CEO of SpringHill Company Maverick Carter. Like most episodes, the show features real talk about the biggest issues in sports, music and culture.
While this particular episode sparked conversation on a number of topics including Black art, the path to winning, and teamwork, two topics that stood out include the situation surrounding WNBA star Brittney Griner’s arrest in Russia (in which the gentleman agree she is the “LeBron” of the WNBA) and how James really feels about playing in the city he hates the most.
As for Griner, James says, “She’s such a great human being, a great person. Obviously, I’ve been in her presence a few times. You always feel like, if you from a certain place, you always feel like they got your back. In a sense, now, how can she feel like America has her back?”
He goes to wonder if Griner will even want to return to the U.S., stating that he is hoping he can get even more support with the hopes of having the charges dropped and bringing her back home.
James also dropped dimes on the city that he hates playing in the most and when asked the question, he coyly answers, “Boston” and when asked why, James swiftly replied, “because they racist as f**k.”
James explained that while he has been dealing with this his whole life and admits “I don't mind it” it clearly touches a nerve. He reveals there have been times where he has had beer thrown at him, spotted shirts that read “F**k LBJ” and sly comments that have been made to him directly during the game.
Watch his response below:
James, 37, says he’s used to dealing with the racist taunts, stating, “if I hear somebody close by, I’ll check them real quick and I’ll move on to the game.”
In the ultimate checkmate, James actually owns stake in Fenway Sports Group, which is the owner of the Boston Redsox, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Liverpool Football Club.
This isn’t the first accusation of the Boston Celtics' fan base displaying racist actions. Kyrie Irving, a point guard for the Brooklyn Nets and former point guard for the Celtics, has pleaded with the Celtics fans to focus on “strictly basketball” when it comes to their comments toward him when playing in Boston.
Following a playoff game back in May, Irving was asked if he’d experience racism in Boston before.
“I’m not the only one who can attest to this,” he said, throwing his hands up. “It is what it is. The whole world knows it.”
Celtics guard Marcus Smart was questioned if he heard any racist remarks toward Irving after that game, to which he said he did and called it “sad and sickening,” according to Jay King of The Athletic.
“Even though it’s an opposing team, we have guys on your home team that you’re saying these racial slurs and you’re expecting us to go out there and play for you.”